LOCAL VICTIMS OF THE NATIONWIDE SAM’S CLUB CLOSINGS: SOUTH LOOP, ELDRIDGE PKWY., NEW CANEY
The Sam’s Club that serves as the terminus of Metro’s red line closed abruptly today along with one other Houston store in the shopping center on Westheimer at Eldridge Pkwy., and one in New Caney. The South Loop store occupies a 14-acre parcel of land west of the AutoNation car dealership and north of the Fanin South Metro stop. Opened last year, the New Caney store was the newest of the 3 to close. The shut downs come as part of 63 nationwide that parent company Walmart announced today. 11 stores are still open across the Houston area. [KHOU] Photo: Jason Miles
GRAND TEXAS THEME PARK GETS ITS TEXAS LAND Developer Monty Galland has teamed with investors that include a former AstroWorld manager to close, at last, on 600 acres in Montgomery County for the proposed Texas-themed Grand Texas Theme Park. In April, Galland told Click2Houston that he would close on the property in May. But the 3-month delay seems to have allowed time for the development to develop thematically beyond tractor rides and simulated shootouts: Prime Property’s Erin Mulvaney reports that there will be the previously unmentioned Big Rivers Water Park here too. The parks will be carved out of the heavily wooded acreage between U.S. 59 and Hwy. 242, near the proposed EarthQuest dino-resort. But the proximity doesn’t seem to present a conflict in the mind of East Montgomery County improvement prez Frank McCrady, reports Mulvaney: “He compared the two parks to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disney Land in California. In this scenario, Earth Quest would be Disney Land, and Grand Texas is Knott’s Berry.” [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Grand Texas
GRAND TEXAS THEME PARK: FILLING THE ASTROWORLD VOID And this overgrown crossroads in the middle of somewhere near U.S. 59 and FM 242 is expected to be part of the Grand Texas Theme Park. Investors are in place, and the land between New Caney and Splendora in Montgomery County should be closed on this May, developer Monty Galland tells Click2Houston, when construction on the $200 million project — advertised to feature high-noon cowboy shootouts and tractor rides — will begin. And why all the fuss? “If there was an Astroworld,” says Galland, “we probably wouldn’t have even pursued this development. . . . The great thing about it is that we have enough land that we can create a lot of the elements Astroworld had, and it doesn’t detract from the other areas of the park. We’re not going to compete with Disneyland. We want to create an entertainment value that’s similar to going to the movies or going bowling.” [Click2Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Grand Texas Theme Park, via Facebook
The cartoon horse speaks! Alas, Grand Texas Theme Park’s well-heeled mascot isn’t saying where you’ll join him. But at least the theme park’s website is now open, claiming that developer Monty Galland “has determined three different desired sites: Two are in Montgomery County, while the other is in Fort Bend County.” And there are now several new renderings of the park’s proposed “territories” with detailed descriptions of the Texas-themed activities and amenities to come.
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Meet Lasso, your mascot for the new Grand Texas Theme Park! The armed-and-friendly blond stud has been revealed as the long face of the Texas-themed theme park’s second-go-around in Texas. Back in July 2009, developer Monty Galland announced that he had a spot in Tomball for the park’s first phase to open by April 2010. Well, that was then. Now, Galland’s back — with Lasso in tow — and presenting a revised proposal to Montgomery Country leaders, reports the Tomball Potpourri: The developer’s eyeing property near New Caney, where Grand Texas might better hitch its wagon to dinosaur-friendly EarthQuest.
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Schemes for half-billion-dollar eco-resort theme parks are delicate things. To make them happen, it sure helps if everyone believes! Close your eyes and wish it, then: a 500-acre eco-themed, dinosaur-flavored earth science fantasyland, resort, conference center, and retail development just 30 miles northeast of Downtown Houston on Hwy. 59, and just a short drive from Bush Intercontinental airport. Imagine the synergy: Rides, a water park, a museum and scientific institute, ecotourism, a volcano and retreating glacier, shops, restaurants, and shows! Pterodactyls!
But darn, wouldn’t you just figure a ragtag bunch of cynical, self-proclaimed investigating journalist types would get in the way, asking all sorts of annoying questions? Like: How come the East Montgomery County Improvement District has been funneling millions of dollars to various development entities connected to the proposed EarthQuest Resort in New Caney, a hefty chunk of which appears to have been spent on lavish travel junkets for the developers, EMCID officials, and their families — to view theme parks in Las Vegas, Florida, Canada, the Bahamas, Japan, China, and Vietnam? And: How come EMCID officials now claim not to know the current status of the now apparently bankrupt EarthQuest Institute, which for several years listed the EMCID’s address as its own on tax forms, and when the 2 organizations have the same board chairman? And: Who’s even gonna build this thing now that the landowner has declared bankruptcy and the developer won’t show up to community meetings?
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